Portrait photography: The practice of beautifully capturing the image of someone else – but who are the photographers that are doing it beautifully?
We love portrait photography. The creativity, the light, the imperfections all go into the photographic cocktail that gets our juices flowing. Platon, Annie Leibovitz, Richard Avedon – we’re going to keep going – Diane Arbus, Angus McBean, Albert Watson, all of them made us fall in love with the craft. And whilst we will hold them close to our hearts forever, they’ve all had their time to shine. And as the light keeps on shining a new batch of photographers will fall into it. But who?
To answer that question we’ve looked through magazines, got lost in social media and even peaked through the windows of photography studios (okay, one of them is a lie). Finally, we have put a list together that we think is pretty strong, to say the least. So to spread those positive vibes, it’s now time for the photographers that are doing it of us, to start doing it for you too.
Bob Sala (@bob_sala)
A photographer that once described himself as being stuck in the 1970s, Bob Sala is building quite the portfolio. He has a body of work that screams “there’s nothing wrong with being a hipster”, as it gives off those warm retro vibes. Within his photos, he has cool, chic 20-something models that look amazingly beautiful – even behind the girt and grain of Sala’s chosen aesthetic.
Because of his success, the “big people” are catching on. Sala has been commissioned by the likes of Rolling Stone, Lack of Colour and Ramp Magazine.
Holly Rose Stones (@hollyrosestones)
Now call us narcissists if you like, but we’re rather partial to a self-portrait. And guess what…so is Holly Rose Stones. Her work is filled with eye-catching conceptual self-portrait photography. Some of the work displays her natural beauty, whilst some shows off the more bizarre and creative, magical visionary of her adventurous thinking. Through her work, we see her personality and get an idea of who the artist is. Her self-portraits are a telling visual biography – that’s why we love them.
As well as shooting portraits, Holly also likes to talk about them. She has her own YouTube channel where she uploads tutorials for you to enjoy.
Cat Lane (@catlanephoto)
Cat’s portrait photography is gentle and calming. It’s not lost in big, overwhelming production, nor is it layered with mind-bending conceptual ideas. What it is, is elegant, soft humanistic portrait photography. There is a wonderful vulnerability in her subjects. The kind that says “I don’t think I’m supposed to be here, but I’m happy that I am”.
Cat has used her skills to build commisions in portrait, wedding and commercial photography.
Michela Riva (@michelarivaphotography)
We really like the work of Michela Riva, yet at first, we were unsure why. That’s not a bad thing, sometimes it can just take time to process what the connection is. Was it the cool tones? The interesting concepts, perhaps? After some thought and time spent with her work, we concluded that it had a big feel to it. By that, we mean it felt like we were looking at top of the line, quality portrait photography and that’s why we were so drawn to it.
This should come as no surprise as Michela is all ready doing the rounds and making a name for her self in the advertising and fashion sectors.
Adam Bird (@adambirdyy)
Adam’s photos feel like magic. And although he is not a magician, he certainly has some tricks up his sleeve when it comes to creating portraits. His work sends us to our special place – where ever that is – and makes us feel content in our love for portraiture.
Only 21 years old, we couldn’t find much written about Adam. We liked that, as sometimes it’s best to let the photographs do the talking (with 61k followers on Instagram, he’s clearly doing something right).
Alex Stoddard (@alexbstoddard)
Alex produces some extremely interesting and artistic portraits. His work explores the beauty of the way we look and the ugliness in the way we behave. It challenges the human form, how think and how we feel.
Okay, time out – things are getting a little bit too deep for this article. But it must be said that that is a credit to the way Alex produces his work. It encourages you to go deeper than “oh, that’s nice”.
He’s done some amazing series (we particularly liked Hunting For Pearls) and is certainly a photographer that you should go and check out.
Portrait Photography: We Know There Are More
Imagine if the future of portrait photography rested on the shoulders of just 6 photographers. Wow, that would be a tough deal.
Thankfully, that is not the case and there are many more quality photographers working their way up the ranks. But we did not want to do a long list titled “The 50 Best Portrait Photographers” because we know you’re not going to go look at all 50 of them (probably not even half).
So we gave you six because it gives the opportunity to spend to some with their work and to enjoy it just as much as we do.
Lead Photo by Holly Rose Stones (Used with Permission. All other images are screenshots of Instagram feeds.)